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Ventures Platform fund surpasses $40m target

Dr Dotun Olowoporoku, managing partner of Ventures Platform, featured with founder and general partner Kola Aina. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn
Dr Dotun Olowoporoku, managing partner of Ventures Platform, featured with founder and general partner Kola Aina. Photo: Supplied/Ventureburn

A pan-African VC firm championing the next generation of African technology entrepreneurs, Ventures Platform, closed its early-stage and intercontinental fund at $46 million. This not only surpasses the initial $40 million target, but sees new participation from global investors.

This includes top-tier commercial banks, corporates, development finance institutions, global institutional investors and high net-worth individuals, including Standard Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), British International Investment, A to Z Impact, Proparco with FISEA, AfricaGrow a Fund of Funds backed by BMZ (the German ministry for economic cooperation and development, DEG and Allianz, managed by Allianz Global Investors), and others.

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The new fund will see Ventures Platform double down on backing a cohort of category-leading start-ups across Africa and will also allow for follow-on investments for portfolio companies, up to series A.

In a bid to better support the companies it invests in, Ventures Platform has also established an innovative “platform and networks” practice that will provide scalable and world-class post-investment support and value creation to its portfolio companies.

Since the first close of the fund late last year, the early-stage “discovery” venture capital fund has deployed new capital and follow-on capital into companies across various verticals and regions on the continent, such as Remedial Health, Moni Notto, and Chargel. To further consolidate its pan-African reach, Ventures Platform is actively seeking opportunities in regions such as Kenya, Egypt, and French-speaking West Africa.

In addition to the close of the fund, Ventures Platform has made a series of strategic team additions at partnership and senior management level.

The VC firm has added accomplished entrepreneur, investor, and former Principal at pan-African VC firm, Novastar Ventures, Dr Dotun Olowoporoku, as managing partner. Renowned technologist and investor Desigan Chinniah joined as a venture partner.

The pan-African VC firm has over 60 active investments.

Whilst focussing on funding market-creating innovations that optimise for non-consumption, Ventures Platform has accrued one of the largest technology start-up portfolios on the continent.

Investing from pre-seed stage up to Series A, the fund invests in start-ups across multiple sectors, ranging from fintech, insurtech, life science and healthtech, edtech and digital talent accelerators, enterprise SaaS, digital infrastructure plays, agritech and food security.

Kola Aina, founder and general partner at Ventures Platform, stated: “We are honoured to have the breadth of both local and global investors who have bought into our vision and who equally are bringing immense value to our portfolio. This is a crowning close to an eventful year in which we made substantial advancements both in the tactical and the proprietary interventions that catalyse our portfolio companies.”

William Sonneborn, IFC’s global director of Disruptive Technologies and Funds, said: “IFC is the largest global development institution focused on boosting private sector investments in emerging markets. Championing tech innovation, digital talent, and connectivity are key to succeeding in our mission.

“We are also one of the largest tech investors in Africa. Like Ventures Platform, we believe that the power of technology, combined with the scale and reach of entrepreneurship, can help solve some of the most pressing challenges of our time. We are delighted to partner with Ventures Platform to help emerging, talented entrepreneurs scale their innovations across the continent and beyond.”

Babacar Seck, senior investment officer for Venture Capital at Proparco, added that they were thrilled to partner with Ventures Platform in their journey backing early-stage African start-ups creating new markets and jobs, while accelerating the continent’s digitisation.

“This ground-breaking partnership reflects the deep commitment of Proparco to African entrepreneurship in line with the Choose Africa initiative, and is being funded through FISEA, an investment fund of the Agence Française de Développement, that finances African start-ups and small-medium enterprises through innovative fund managers.”

Martin Ewald, lead portfolio manager: Allianz Global Investors, Impact Investments, also stated, “The investment strategy of AfricaGrow is funding Private Equity and Venture Capital funds domiciled and active in Africa, which is both challenging and very rewarding. In Ventures Platform, we have found an excellent partner generating real impact on the ground by building successful companies utilising their deep experience, network and local expertise. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation.”

“We feel that start-ups, technology and innovation are central to catalysing Africa’s economic potential. We are particularly excited to be contributing towards building a digital and self-sustaining continent and believe that Ventures Platform is well placed with a great leadership team and a solid investment thesis to help achieve these overarching objectives’ added Akash Maharaj of the Standard Bank Group.

Ventures Platform’s portfolio companies have to-date gone on to raise more than $1 billion in follow-on funding.

ALSO READ: Supply chain start-up Suplyd closes $1.6m funding round

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